Check, re-check, then check it again. That's how I plan and pack. Whether it's for travel or hiking. I try to go as lite as I can but carry what is necessary. This trip was no different. I was antsy and excited. I had another knee surgery two months prior and this was to be my first hike. As John Muir put it - the mountains are calling, and I must go. Cabin fever had more than set in, and it was the summer. Chris was coming, and I planned the trip, an overnight of Mt. Moriah - Imp campsite - and the three Carters. Why not test the knee with 4 peaks and an overnight?
So, I laid out my gear, tested the hammock setup and packed it all up. The forecast changed - rain overnight but clear days. Nix the hammock and we'd split the load of a two-person tent. Now a whole lot of gear was being moved around. We meet, spot a car, last minute adjustments and we were off. Knee felt good. Couple of spits of rain on Moriah but it was nice to sit on the summit with really no place to be. It wasn't about cranking out the miles this time around. It was about being present. Experiencing the experience. We get to Imp and grab a platform. Set up the tent and it starts to spit a little more. Water up, get some food in and just enjoy the view, the company and the solitude. Just where I needed to be. Early feels late when you're in the woods. By 2000hrs we were ready to call it quits. Move some gear around, put on my Minus33 Expedition weight leggings, Expedition weight socks and 1/4 zip long sleeve Isolation top. Pads inflated and ready to crawl into my sleeping bag. Wait. What's that you say? There's no sleeping bag? Uh oh. How the bloody hell do you forget a sleeping bag on a backpacking trip? Seems both Chris and I forgot this essential piece of kit somehow. And here's the second time this year that good gear has saved my ass. The first was a splitboard trip that took just a bit too long and then there was this shivering, sleepless night on top of a mountain, curled in a ball with every piece of clothing I had on. Don't get me wrong, it was a miserable night. If it weren't for the rain, we would have got up and starting hiking at about 0200hrs just to warm up. Eventually the rain let up, we tore down, packed up and moved on. It was a GREAT trip and a helluva fun experience. Every time Chris and I go out, it's never a dull trip. Things go wrong, things get forgotten but good people and a positive attitude go a long way, good gear doesn't hurt either.